Whenever proponents of Maryland's new congressional districts make their pitch, there is something missing: the map itself. The gerrymandered map of Maryland's congressional districts produced by Gov.
Maryland's new Third Congressional District, represented by
Marylanders can and should repeal this outrageous gerrymander in November by voting against Question 5, effectively sending politicians in Annapolis the message: "return to sender." It's a message that the governor and most members of the General Assembly sorely need to hear. It's a message they ignored last fall when the League of Women Voters, Common Cause of Maryland, civil rights groups, legislators of both major parties, former
Fortunately, Maryland's constitution provides the right for a referendum on recently enacted state laws, and many people across the political spectrum worked hard to gather the more than 56,000 signatures needed to place the new congressional map on the ballot. That's why the fate of this gerrymander is now in the hands of Maryland's voters.
The new congressional map is fundamentally flawed. It unnecessarily moves more than a million Marylanders to different congressional districts for purely political reasons. It unnecessarily divides communities of interest — even neighborhoods — while combining other communities that have almost nothing in common. For example, the Third Congressional District includes bits and pieces of Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County,
The arguments proponents have made for the gerrymander are false or misleading. They imply that only
Instead of continuing the cycle of gerrymandering that occurs after every 10-year census, Maryland's lawmakers need to get out of the business of redistricting and support the establishment of a truly independent redistricting commission as Arizona, California and Iowa have done. Although this essential reform will be extremely difficult to achieve in a General Assembly that has demonstrated little interest in political reform for years, it might happen if voters resoundingly reject the egregious gerrymander foisted on them by the governor and their representatives in Annapolis.
Marylanders will be stuck with this atrocious congressional gerrymander for 10 years unless voters repeal it by voting against Question 5. This would return the map to its Annapolis senders, require the governor and General Assembly to go back to the drawing board, and help move the needle in Annapolis from politics as usual to reform.